Tour de Bloom Stage Race May 6-8th 2016
I headed up to Wenatchee, WA for a stage race I hadn’t heard much about but with equal payouts and $1,000 to the overall winner I figured it would be worth it! The race consisted of 4 stages in 3 days in the beautiful Wenatchee Valley. We had a pretty good field turnout of 26 riders with a lot of Canadians coming down south.
Stage 1 Leavenworth Road Race
The race started in Leavenworth with a long gradual 15 mile climb along the Columbia River. Glotmen-Simpson had a large team of 5 girls whose strategy was not to let anything go. This, along with a mostly individual rider field, led to some very negative racing as no one wanted to let anything go. I attacked countless times in the last 20 miles but no attacks were given any sort of time as we began the long descent back to the adorable Barvarian town of Leavenworth. With a tricky couple of turns in the last 500 meters before the finish I knew positioning was going to be critical. I was able to freelance my way throughout the last 3k and felt super fresh going into the final kilometer. Heading into the final 500 meters I was sitting second wheel and attacked hard through the tricky chicane of a finish and opened up a gap that I was able to hold to the line and snag my first win of 2016! It was a very satisfying win in front of good crowds over a stunningly gorgeous course while taking the GC lead heading into stage 2.
Stage 2 Hill Climb
I awoke this day with a nasty sore throat and the chills which had me super bummed, considering how I felt just the day before. The hill climb was a tough 4 mile climb averaging about 8% so of course there would be no hiding today as the strongest rider would win. I felt super weak warming up but had little choice in the matter and tried to not think about how bad I felt and give it everything I had. The race immediately starts on the climb and girls went hard from the bottom. I just rode my own pace and tried to ignore what was happening in front of me and just get through the climb without losing too much time. It was a sufferfest but I was able to salvage an 11th place finish about 2.5 minutes down from the winner. Rough morning.
Stage 3 Crit
After the Hill Climb I was feeling pretty horrible and thought many times about not even starting the evening crit. I was still fighting some chills and now the cold was going to my sinuses. After downing a bunch of coffee and decided I would give the crit a go and just drop out if I wasn’t feeling it. Well, I’m sure glad that I started! The course was a simple 4 corner course with a little punchy climb on one end of it. As the laps ticked by I felt better and better and became more and more active in the race, picking up a prime and getting into a break. Heading into the last lap I was in great position as we headed downhill into the last corning and into the long finishing straight into a still headwind so I knew patience was going to be key here. I was sitting third wheel coming out of the last corner, then second wheel into the last 200 meters before finally coming around in the last 100 meters to take the win! This was one of the most satisfying wins for me as I was down all day (literally and figuratively) but I fought through it and never quit. The crowds in downtown Wenatchee were amazing and no doubt they helped will me through the race and got me pumped for the finish.
Stage 4 Road Race
This course was out in the farmlands on rolling terrain where it was super exposed to any wind. Of course this was the day that the winds decided to show up with 40 mph wind gusts! We were supposed to do 2 laps on a 34 mile course for a total of 68 miles. However some girls only wanted to do 1 lap and so a vote was cast and the 1 lap vote won out. I voted for 2 laps but with my cold I was still somewhat content with doing just 1 lap. Right from the start we began in crosswinds and with this short of a distance I just went for it in the gutter. A few girls followed and after a few more attacks it was just 5 of us leading the break. Everyone worked really well together over the brutally strong winds and we were able to stay away from the chase group as we headed into the long — and I mean long — headwind finish. I got way too overzealous and attacked with about 600 meters to go. I got a gap but then was caught with 200 meters to go and ended up last in the break. Not exactly the way I wanted to end my day but I did move up 6 spots in the final GC to 5th!
This ended up being a really awesome race! Great courses, great local support, awesome crowds and great equal prize payouts. I will definitely be back next year when I can hopefully evade the cold bug!
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Mikayla is a tall cyclist living in Portland, OR. She is a vegetarian and animal lover. Mikayla is tall and uses her long legs as leverage.
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